Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke has received a Board of Governors Award from the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) for her role in establishing and executing the Access to Justice Listening Tour. The award was presented on Wednesday by ISBA President Dennis Orsey at the association’s Chicago Office.
The Board of Governors Award recognizes attorneys for exemplary service to the profession or the ISBA and nonlawyers for especially meritorious deeds or service that significantly advance the administration of justice or the goals of the profession or the ISBA.
“The ISBA was a great partner for the Listening Tour and it was wonderful to have President Orsey serve as the moderator for all 10 sessions,” Chief Justice Burke said. “I greatly appreciate the award and would like to thank everyone who participated. We learned a lot of valuable information to improve the administration of justice in Illinois.”
“I was honored to serve as moderator of the Access to Justice Listening Tour,” Orsey said. “The Illinois Supreme Court and the ISBA both benefitted from the comments and suggestions made by the judges, practicing attorneys, and court personnel from around the state.”
The Listening Tour was originally scheduled to take place in person at courthouses around the state starting in March 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Listening Tour was delayed and moved to a virtual format. The first session was held in Madison County and the 3rd Circuit on Aug. 20, 2020. Additional sessions were held in Whiteside County, Adams County, Winnebago County, two sessions in Cook County (Criminal, Civil), Kankakee County, Lake County, Vermilion County and Jefferson County.
Judges, state’s attorneys, public defenders, law enforcement, court personnel, circuit courts clerks and practicing attorneys all shared their experiences and suggestions on how best to keep the Judicial Branch working smoothly during the pandemic and beyond.
A practical suggestion made at the Madison County Listening Tour resulted in a Supreme Court Rule change via an amendment to Supreme Court Rule 415, which changed how defense attorneys can share discovery documents with their criminal defendants.
Video from all 10 Listening Tour sessions is available on the ISBA website at https://www.isba.org/accesstojustice.